Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

A new code of ethics for Australian interpreters and translators has this week been released to the public by the national professional association on its website.

Concerns about interpreting standards and conditions in Australian courts and hospitals prompted a two-year review of the previous code.

With support from Monash University, ten translation experts from around Australia, drawn from the university and the national professional body, the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT), collaborated to identify best practices from around the world. The working group analysed findings from numerous international forums including, courts, war crimes tribunals and other professional associations.

“Our clients often have no way of telling how good an interpreter or translator is,” said AUSIT President, Annamaria Arnall.

“They need to feel confident in the service they get, especially when it’s in another language.”

Ms Arnall said that the updated code has been endorsed by the government’s accreditation office, the National Accreditation Authority for Interpreters and Translators (NAATI).

Before its public release, the Australian initiative was also formally adopted by AUSIT’s counterpart in New Zealand, making it the most important reference for language services in the southern hemisphere.

“It is the only such code in the world to be adopted throughout a region and not just within a single country,” Ms Arnall said.

Ms Arnall said that the work of translators and interpreters affected the quality of services in diverse fields such as legal and medical services, policing, mining and manufacturing, export and import trade, education and migration.

One of the authors of the code of ethics, Adelaide-based translator and interpreter Christian Schmidt, said that the new code goes a step further than its international counterparts to safeguard both the users of language services and practitioners. said that the revised code goes a step further than the previous version by setting higher standards for collaboration and service delivery.

“Interpreters must be impartial, but parties often expect them to be their advocate and this causes an ethical dilemma, ” he said. " Our code gives detailed guidance on professional boundaries. Legal or medical advice should only come from a legal or medical professional and not from a language professional. Their job is to facilitate communication across cultural boundaries and enable parties to understand each other – a task that requires content knowledge and multiple skills, and is often very challenging."

Ms Arnall said that the industry’s gold standard for ethical practice in interpreting and translating will be celebrated by AUSIT at the national Excellence Awards in Melbourne in November this year.

The AUSIT Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct can be found at

Contact Profile

AUSIT The Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators Inc.

The Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT) is the national association for the translating and interpreting profession.

Members adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and follow continuous professional development. This gives you the opportunity to choose from a pool of experienced and qualified translators and interpreters.

AUSIT is committed to providing a forum for exchange, fostering the development of professional relationships with fellow translators & interpreters, agencies and language service users, government departments, tertiary institutions and other industry stake holders, and promoting ethics and quality standards through the industry.

AUSIT holds events and training workshops throughout the year including the biennial signature events, AUSIT National Biennial Conference and the AUSIT Excellence Awards to provide members the best opportunities to grow as translators & interpreters.
Christian Schmidt
P: 0416117157

Annamaria Arnall

P: 0410415636


translation, interpreting, professional ethics, language services, NAATI, AUSIT,



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